JACKSON, Mich. — Grass Lake Park east of Jackson was packed this Fourth of July as the Village of Grass Lake hosted its twelfth annual Cardboard Boat Race.
"It started with the Grass Lake Leos Club, which is part of the Lions Club, and we started this when our fireworks went away, and it's just kind of grown," said Jennifer Keener, Grass Lake village clerk and one of the event organizers.
The cardboard boat races started in 2010 after the annual Grass Lake fireworks show became too costly.
"It's a fun, family-friendly activity and if you pan out you will see the zillions of people that are here today," Keener said.
The crowd cheered when Keener asked, "Anybody think this is just as fun as fireworks?"
Sunday, there were roughly 40 competitors registered in the boat race, which was divided into four heats.
Keener said all children "0 to 101" are welcome to participate.
Ron Smith of Jackson has been coming to Grass Lake Park on the Fourth of July for years. This year, he was one of the boat race participants.
"Always wanted to try it, just never had the guts," Smith said.
Smith's boat took around six hours to build, but he said it was worth it because he took second place in his heat.
"Had a blast. It was kind of cool until the end when my boat fell apart," Smith laughed.
"You pulled off another great year," Mayor Joe Deboe said to Keener. "It's a great place to call home, Grass Lake is, and it's because of people like this right here, our Leos, our Lions, our veterans."
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